14 Things Women Over 60 Find Irritating

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For women aged 60 and older, the rich life experience and accumulated wisdom they’ve gained are invaluable for tackling life’s challenges. Yet, this period also comes with its own set of particularly frustrating things.

Dietary Restrictions


As women cross the 60-year mark, dietary changes can become both restrictive and isolating. Opting for healthier or medically advised diets often means skipping the rich, shared meals that define social gatherings. 

This shift can unintentionally push them to the margins of social life, where food is a central joy and connector.

Gray Hair


While the natural graying of hair is increasingly accepted, many women still feel pressured to meet societal beauty standards. 

Research shows that between the ages of 45 and 65, about 74% of people begin to develop gray hair, with an average intensity of 27%. 

Snowy vs. Gray Hair


Despite this commonality, a study in Ageing & Society found that older women often hold negative views about their own gray hair, contrasting it unfavorably with snowy white hair, which is generally perceived more positively.

Debating Hairstyles for Mature Women


This study also uncovered strong opinions on appropriate hairstyles for older women. Many participants criticized long, flowing gray hairstyles as unflattering, advocating instead for shorter cuts that they believed better suited gray-haired women. 

Ageism in Media Portrayals 


Media often depict older women as less physically capable and more concerned with their ‘fading’ looks, reinforcing stereotypes of ageism. 

This portrayal can be disheartening, as it impacts how society views aging women and also how these women see themselves, battling against an image that equates aging with a decline in beauty and vitality.

Sudden Shifts in Social Roles 


As women age, there’s often an expectation for them to take on certain roles, such as caregiving for grandchildren or elderly relatives. 

While many embrace these roles, the sudden assumption that this is their primary function can be irritating and overwhelming especially if they have other plans for their later years (e.g. traveling the world, starting a new career, etc.)

Weight Gain 

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Weight gain becomes a notable concern for many women as they age, with it being easier to accumulate and harder to shed pounds. This issue is linked to increased risks of serious health conditions like breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

Why Do Women Gain Weight as We Age?


Avril James, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center, sheds light on why this happens. She notes that weight gain is a natural part of aging for both men and women, driven by several factors. 

Does Age Really Slow Metabolism?

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Activity levels typically decrease as people grow older, with many spending long hours in sedentary jobs. Additionally, the metabolic rate slows down starting in the mid-to-late 30s, complicating the body’s ability to process and metabolize food effectively. 

While metabolism does play a role, James points out that significant weight gain is more often a result of lifestyle choices rather than just biological changes. Clothing and 

Fashion and Makeup ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ 


The world of fashion and beauty often becomes frustrating for women as they age, especially with society’s persistent dos and don’ts. The bombardment of messages like ‘5 Outfits No Woman Over 60 Should EVER Wear’ can be disheartening. 

These guidelines often dictate avoiding blue eyeshadow, short skirts, or even long dresses that look too ‘girly, alongside recommendations for lighter foundation. 

Breaking Fashion Rules After 60


Breaking free from societal fashion ‘rules’ can be incredibly liberating for older women. For example, choosing to wear a vibrant pink dress or experimenting with colorful makeup (if that’s what they want) can provide a significant emotional uplift. 

Dressing True to Yourself 


When women over 60 step out in styles that truly represent their personality and preferences, it boosts their own spirits and  also inspire others to view aging in a new, more positive light. 

Age Discrimination in the Workplace  


Women over 60 often face the frustrating presumption that they’re less capable or less knowledgeable due to their age. 

This can lead to being overlooked for promotions or excluded from important projects, which undermines both their professional contributions and their self-esteem.

Older Workers Confront Discrimination


Research consistently highlights the prevalence of age discrimination in the workplace, especially among older adults. Approximately two-thirds of adults over 50 who are still in the workforce believe that age discrimination is a common issue, with 64% acknowledging its presence. 

This sentiment is backed by nearly all respondents (90%) who agree that such discrimination is widespread. 

Missed Opportunities and Promotions


Furthermore, a significant number continue to experience direct impacts of this bias—over one in ten report having been overlooked for promotions or opportunities to advance in their careers because of their age—a statistic that has remained steady across multiple surveys. 

Technology Assumptions 


There’s a common and irksome assumption that older women can’t handle modern technology. Whether it’s smartphones, computers, or social media, these stereotypes (often portrayed in media and even in family dynamics) can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation, as they’re not given the chance to prove their competence.

Societal Pressures on Aging Beauty

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The pressure to adhere to an unattainable standard of beauty intensifies as women age. 

With natural changes such as skin losing its elasticity, the societal expectation to maintain a ‘perfect woman’ appearance becomes an almost unattainable goal to achieve, often leading to frustration and lowered self-esteem.

Social Expectations of Age-appropriate Behavior 


Social expectations that dictate how older women should behave can be particularly irksome. This can be assumptions about what activities are appropriate, how they should spend their time, or even what they should wear. 

This enforcement of conventional behavior stifles individuality and forces older women to conform to a societal blueprint that may not resonate with their personal aspirations or lifestyle choices, leading to a sense of frustration and a feeling of being undervalued in their later years.

Increased Physical Dependence


For many women past 60, a growing need for assistance in everyday tasks—from basic house chores to more complex activities—can deeply impact their sense of independence. 

This shift towards reliance can spark significant frustration, especially for those who have prized self-sufficiency throughout their lives.

Cognitive Decline


Cognitive decline, including conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, profoundly impacts the emotional and psychological well-being of older women. As these conditions progress, they impair the ability to connect meaningfully with the world, leading to feelings of fear and confusion. 

Mood Swings


It’s common for women experiencing cognitive decline to exhibit mood swings, showing signs of anger, agitation, anxiety, or sadness. These emotional responses can be challenging to manage due to the lack of a clear-cut treatment or solution. 

Memory Lapses

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Memory lapses can be a common part of aging, yet they are often misconstrued as signs of dementia. This misunderstanding can cause unnecessary worry among aging women. 

Recognizing that these changes can be a normal aspect of getting older may help alleviate some of that frustration.

Frequent Nighttime Bathroom Visits


Nighttime bathroom visits become more common during this decade. 

Dr. Ryan P. Terlecki, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, notes that about 80% of people in their 60s need to get up at least once a night—a normal part of aging. 

Evening Habits to Improve Nighttime Sleep


To manage this, he suggests reducing fluid intake after 6 p.m. and limiting caffeine in the afternoon. Additionally, for those on diuretics for high blood pressure, it might be beneficial to discuss with a doctor the possibility of taking the medication in the morning to minimize nighttime disturbances.

Incontinence in Your 60s


Stress incontinence, which involves urine loss during actions like coughing or sneezing, affects one in three women in their 60s. Urge incontinence, characterized by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate, is also more common. 

Managing these conditions can be approached through bladder training, medications, and pelvic floor exercises like Kegels, which strengthen the muscles around the bladder and improve symptoms.

Discrimination in Healthcare 


In healthcare settings, older women sometimes face condescension or are not taken seriously by medical professionals. 

Despite some studies suggesting that physicians might spend more time with women and older patients—potentially indicating less discrimination—this could actually reflect the poorer health status of elderly women rather than a lack of bias. 

Under-treated and Overlooked


The compelling evidence lies in the treatment gaps: older women are consistently less likely to receive adequate treatments for serious conditions such as cardiac or renal diseases compared to their male counterparts. 

Healthcare Barriers for Women

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Historical treatment of menopause and the prevailing stereotypes of older women have often been manipulated to benefit certain aspects of the healthcare industry. 

Moreover, societal inequities (especially economic ones) exacerbate these healthcare challenges, making it even harder for older women to receive fair and necessary medical care.

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.